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Study: More immigrant families are intact

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by Staff Writers
University Park, Pa. (UPI) Mar 15, 2011
Children of immigrants are more likely to live in households with two married parents than children of natives in similar ethnic groups, U.S. sociologists say.

Nancy Landale, a Penn State University professor of sociology and demography, says the intact family structure may offer immigrant children economic and social advantages that help them adapt to their new country, a university release reported Tuesday.

"An intact family is a positive family arrangement because it maximizes the resources available to children," Landale said. "The family is the main source of children's economic resources, as well as their protection and support."

The researchers examined data on family living arrangements for Mexican, southeast Asian and black immigrant families in the United States from 2005 to 2009. In each group, the study found, children of immigrants were more likely to live in households with two parents than the children of natives.

The data showed 52 percent of Hispanic children of immigrants in the survey live with married parents, compared to 44 percent of the children of Hispanic natives. A total of 65 percent of children of Asian immigrants live with married parents, compared to 50 percent of Asian natives. About 44 percent of black children of immigrants live with married parents, compared to 24 percent of native black children.

Raising children in intact families can help immigrants adjust socially and economically to the challenges they face adapting to life in a new country, Landale said.

"Children of immigrants are a growing share of the child population in the United States and most children of immigrants are U.S. citizens," she said. "These children are an important part of the future adult population of the United States and understanding the circumstances in which they grow up is important."

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